Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Make the Shot: Close-Up Eyeball

Make this shot: close-up eyeball | Boost Your Photography

The iris of the eye is like a fingerprint - a unique pattern that signifies an individual. A close-up or macro photograph of an eye shows off a great deal of detail we might otherwise miss. In this post, I'll explain how I took the shot above of my own eye.


The set-up for this shot was fairly basic: I needed a window with bright light and a tripod. I knew that I wanted to go for an overexposed or high-key style, so I taped a piece of bright white paper to the side of the window, behind my head. Then I secured my Canon T1i on the tripod with the Canon 50 mm f/1.8 lens and a +10 close-up lens for added magnification. (You can read more about close-up lenses and their application here.) I knew that I wanted the entirety of the iris in focus, so I used an aperture of f/7.1 and a shutter speed of 1/100, which my camera's sensor recorded as somewhat overexposed.

Lining up my eye using the string for focus.
My main concern was focus, but I solved that problem with a piece of string and a marker. First, I tied the string around the base of the tripod. Then, I looked through the viewfinder of the camera and held the string taut, away from the tripod. With my other hand, I moved the marker until it was exactly in focus, and then used it to mark the string at that exact point. Now, all I had to do was hold the string up to my eye, and I knew it would be in focus.

Making the Shot

Once I had the settings dialed in, I used the string to guide where to position my eye. Then, I used a remote control to trigger the camera. I usually took three to five shots each time before going back to check them on the camera's LCD display, checking to see that my eye was centered in the frame and in focus.  I also experimented with looking in different directions towards and away from the camera.

Final Steps

I wanted the pure white look of a high-key shot, so I did some quick modifications on the computer. Using the RAW file in Adobe Photoshop, I bumped up the exposure and cropped slightly (the dark spot in the upper right was bugging me). A comparison of the before and after versions of the shot is below.

The eye shot before (left) and after (right) post processing.
So that's all you need to create a stunning close-up shot of your own eyeball. Feel free to link to your own shots taken using these suggestions in the comments below.

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